After my son graduated from college and had done so well, I promised him a trip to the Grand Canyon after flying into Phoenix.
“It was truly awesome,” I said.
The first time I saw it, I was shocked. I came from what was essentially a steel mill town that was often dirty and smelling of the billowing smoke from factories. That wasn’t all. There also were people who lived there that never saw the Grand Canyon and never wanted to see it. My side of town suffered from a lack of intellectual curiosity or curiosity per se.
My son, on the other hand, was not that excited. He didn’t grow up in what was essentially a ghetto, and it wasn’t as awesome to him. He grew up in Tampa with its beautiful beaches and stunning atmosphere.
But me, I had never seen anything so big and colorful and awe-inspiring. The gargantuan mountains of sand that had been honed through time and water for years was amazing. It was near my alma mater, Northern Arizona University, and so I often did a little hiking with a bottle of wine and a friend. We were fearless back in the days before there were no fences and buses around the canyon.
“It’s a giant hole,” my son said nonchalantly.
“Yes,” I said, but what a hole. “Ok,” he said, and wanted to get back on the buses to see other parts of the hole. A curious thing had been happening. Everywhere my husband and I went people gave us their seats. Even when we were on a bus to get a rental car in Phoenix, people stood up and gave us their seats.
“Oh no, that’s okay,” I told one Hassidic Jewish man and a pretty girl.
“We’re young,” he said politely. Did I mention both I and my husband can walk?
“Oh my God, I really think I’ve still got some life in me,” I thought.
When the bus came to take us to another part of the Grand Canyon, I didn’t get a seat fast enough and stood in the aisle while everyone begged me to take a seat.
“I’m not doing it,” I thought. “I’m a daredevil.”
After the bus stopped, my son chastised me.
“You’re old mom and you should always take a seat,” he said. The girls traveling next to us agreed.
“I may never sit again,” I thought to myself in elderly defiance.
Then, as I sat in the Phoenix Airport, a worker came up and asked if I wanted a wheelchair? What? Why?
“Take it,” my son said.